Onsite Flu Shots Save Money and Lower Absences
December 2-9 is National Flu Vaccination Week. Help keep your employees healthy and productive throughout the flu season by helping them get vaccinated.
For many professionals, the winter season is a busy time of year packed with deadlines, organizing for the new year and of course plenty of holiday celebration. It is also the time of year that the flu virus hits hardest. All it takes is one infected individual at your business and you could have a rampant flu outbreak on your hands that leaves most of your employees sick in bed and your end of year goals suffering from a loss in productivity. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, flu season costs businesses around $10.4 billion in direct costs each year through hospitalization and outpatient visits, and an additional $6.1 billion in absenteeism and lost productivity. In addition to substantial financial loses, studies show that workers with the flu show impaired the performance of simple reaction time-based tasks by 20 to 40%, which can increase the likelihood of error or on the job injury.
The good news though is that flu vaccinations are an effective method for preventing the flu, showing to lower the risk of going to the doctor by 60% in those that receive it. By offering flu shots at your workplace, you increase the likelihood of your employees getting vaccinated. Onsite employee flu vaccinations is a proven cost-effective strategy that increases productivity, reduces absenteeism and prevents associated direct healthcare costs.
Setting Up an On-site Flu Clinic
The CDC recommends the following tips for setting up a successful onsite flu clinic at your organization:
- Getting senior management to buy-in
- Designate a flu vaccination coordinator or team with defined roles and responsibilities
- Schedule clinic hours to maximize employee participation
- Measure employee demand for flu vaccination
- Ask managers and supervisors to allow employees to visit the clinic during work hours, without having to go off the clock
- Consider offering flu shots to employee’s families
- Give incentives for receiving the vaccine at work, such as a reduced or no cost and providing refreshments
- Promote your clinic so that all levels of your organization are aware
- Provide a comfortable, convenient location to receive shots, keeping in mind space demands and the need for privacy
- Set an example by encouraging managers and leadership to be vaccinated first
To further enhance your flu prevention efforts, make sure that employees are keeping up with basic hygiene rules while at work. Remind your employees of the below flu hygiene tips and distribute them throughout the office.
Flu Hygiene Tips
- Avoid unnecessary touching of your eyes, mouth, and nose as they are key entry points for the flu virus.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
- If you don’t have a tissue, use your upper sleeve to cough or sneeze into, not your hands. Be sure to throw used tissues into a trash can.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often. It has been found that people who do so are less likely to introduce germs into their bodies.
- Disinfect desks, tabletops, and bathrooms often during flu season to help prevent the spread of the virus.
- Supplement hand washing with hand sanitizers, which are effective in killing germs on the hands.
Providing an on-site flu clinic is important in preventing the spread of illness and making sure employees come back from the holidays strong to start a new year. IAB can assist you in setting up an on-site flu clinic at your location. Contact us here.